Anyone Can Be An Expert
Anyone can be an expert on anything. Never has this statement been so true. We are at the juxtaposition one of the most thrilling eras in the history of mankind. Technology has not only taken over the limits of human physical capability but is now making an all-out pincer manoeuvre for our conscious high ground.
According to Swedish Economist Dr Kjell Nordstrom, the amount of data available in the world doubles every 18 months and, quite simply our brain capacity doesn’t. This means that every day we know comparatively less than we knew the day before.
At a recent conference in Barcelona the key note speaker Rik Vera, used an interesting metaphor to describe how many companies approach the impending tsunami of technology on its way.
Picture a beautiful beach with perfect sky-blue sea and golden sands. Every morning the companies selling sun loungers place their chairs strategically in the sand to attract the most customers, some innovate by offering ice-creams or massages and some even offer lockers and mobile phone charging services. All of these innovations are designed to enhance the customer experience of lying in the sun. Suddenly the sea edge disappears as far back as the horizon revealing more golden sand. The traditional thinking is, "more space to put my sun loungers" and to innovate on the beach. But who is looking at the huge tsunami gathering in the distance?
To successfully surf this oncoming, inevitable wave of technology requires two key areas:
· Joined-up thinking
· Bold Leadership
Joined-up Thinking Needed Here Please
Joined-up thinking, or as Steve Jobs put it, connecting the dots must be the New Normal. It requires companies and individuals to open conversations with people and entities with whom they may not have conversed in the past.
Let’s start at home, the Z, Y, X and Mill gens need to open up lines of communication with each other. The older “establishment” need to accept that their positions are on loan to them by the younger generations and share their wisdom and experience. Do you remember the excruciating moment when Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah ponderously asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg “So… how do you run a business where none of your users pay for the service???”. The Facebook exec tried unsuccessfully to hide his disdain for the ill-informed senator as he smirked like a school kid and simply said “We run ads Senator”
In a recent study done by Spotify and research agency Culture Co-op, it was found that 42% OF GEN ZS AND MILLENNIALS IDENTIFY MORE AS A GLOBAL CITIZEN THAN AS A CITIZEN OF THEIR COUNTRY.
This flies in the face of what we read in some media streams indicating that we are becoming more insular in our tendencies. A joined-up thinking approach across all lines will ensure a healthy environment for cross fertilisation of ideas and ideals. This directive should also be reflected in the workplace. The most successful companies today place high importance on nurturing interpersonal relationships among their teams. They have diverse team profiles and offer healthy platforms for both formal and informal interactions.
In a recent 3 day conference we organised for a multi country team from 6 countries, the number one take away that the delegates registered in our post conference survey was the opportunity to connect with colleagues from other countries in a fun environment.
“The unlike is joined together, and from differences results the most beautiful harmony.”
― Heraclitus 600 BC
Be Bolder As Leaders
I reflected for a few days before I wrote this paragraph because I wanted challenge myself on its content for authenticity and practicality. I have read so many “You can do it” self-styled guru help books that claim to have the elixir of leadership figured out. Ultimately I can titrate down my own 16 years of personal experience working stakeholders of all levels. I have watched and observed managers, CEO’s and executives work with their teams and companies through good times and bad. Today I can report that being bold wins! Being bold, does not mean being a swashbuckling corporate crusader trying to bend the will of the employees in one’s favour. It means being bold with ourselves as a leaders and admitting our shortcomings and blind spots in knowledge and skill set. It means asking ourselves questions that we would never normally ask, and being disciplined enough to stick with the process until we find the answers. Only by doing this can we seek the necessary resources to fill in the gaps.
Leadership is one of my favourite topics for research because it leaves huge footprints and clues everywhere. History is a rich tapestry embroidered with examples of great and not so great leaders. On a day to day basis we can observe the ripples of leadership and how it relates in our professional lives. Being bold in leadership is not a gift it is a requirement. Carlota Pi, the Co-Founder of one of Spain’s hugely successful companies with a turnover of 125million Euros a month is the embodiment of bold leadership. Conversations with her are always charged with expectancy and possibilities. Carlota has that rare ability to admit publicly when she is wrong or does not feel up to her best, and the people around her respond to her authenticity. Her team believe in her and the vision she has for HolaLuz because she is a bold leader.
Today with technology able to serve up the ingredients to satisfy any request we can imagine, my personal challenge is to create the time and space to practice “Joined-up thinking” and to be bold in my conversations and actions with myself first and then others.
What is your challenge?